My experience in Starcraft 2 (Single Player)

Posted: 02/06/2012 in Starcraft 2
Tags: , , , ,

The almighty Kerrigan!

As many of you know I’ve been an avid World of Warcraft player for the last 7 years. Over the last year or so (Since Cataclysm really), my interest in WoW has taken a bit of a knock, to the point where I rarely pick it up now. I have recently got my US shaman to level 85, but apart from that, that’s it. Now Blizzard recently quietly released a game called “Diablo 3” (if you Google it, the game may pop up deep in the search engine), but that’s  not the game I want to talk about. The game I want to talk about is one I picked up about three weeks ago. Starcraft 2. I used to be a massive fan of the Command and Conquer series, and this may surprise people, but I never played Warcraft 3.

Now granted I’m late to the party here, but when I saw that the HMV website was selling Starcraft 2 for £19.99, I couldn’t resist and I had to see what the big fuss is about. I haven’t even tried the online aspect of the game yet and so far I’m campaigning on “normal” difficulty and that’s what I’ll be basing my opinion so far. I plan to finish the game on normal then go onto a higher difficulty so when and if I do finally hit the online game, I won’t suck harder than seeing Justin Bieber with yet another bloody trending topic on Twitter.

The Gameplay

When you do the missions, you are virtually immersed for the get go. Some have pretty slow starts, but there isn’t a mission where you sit there going “so yeah? And?” Send your SCV’s to start gathering mats/building structures and then building a force to go complete the mission. The gameplay is smooth and even on my medium level laptop graphic card, it can easily handle multiple things happening at once. A lot of the time you can use brute force to complete a mission but on timed missions or those where resources are limited you need to decided which military units to build to complete the missions. It’s thoroughly enjoyable and I admit there’s nothing better than sending your forces in and watching them overwhelm your enemies. The Gameplay however, whilst incredibly enjoyable isn’t what I enjoy the most. It’s the cut scenes in between missions that sell the game for me.

Cutscenes and Characters

This shouldn’t really come as a shock that these are what causes me the greatest enjoyment in the game. It’s pretty hard to argue that Blizzard are one of the, if not THE best CGI cut scene creators in the business. The story can be dramatic, but also has a hell of a lot of humour, especially from the news reports.

I’m not going to go through all of the characters, but I’ll list my favourite 3.

Jim Raynor

 Jim Raynor is your typical “tormented hero”. A man who is trying to correct the present whilst fighting the demons from his past. He is now arch enemies with two people he was once close too (one out of the choice, the other not). He’s a troubled man who does what he think is for the best. A rebel against the Terran leadership who classes him as a terrorist, he is determined to topple the regime both out of a sense of justice and also revenge for the one he holds dear the most. A war veteran who has the charisma that makes you want to fall in line with.

Matt Horner

Captain Horner is second in command to Raynor, and whilst he never leaves the vessel he commands, quite often he’ll be the voice of reason for Raynor. When Raynor wants to do something stupid or if he’s sinking deeper into his own thoughts, Matt is usually the one who picks him up and snaps him out of it. He has an extremely amusing moment in my eyes, I won’t tell you what, all I will say for those who have seen it. Matt and Jim are having a discussion about marriage.

I should note here that honourable mentions go out to Tychus, Arcturus and Valerien, but for me there’s only one winner for my favourite character…

Sarah Kerrigan “The Queen of Blades”

Kerrigan as a human.

Before I write my piece, you should see the status of Kerrigan that Blizzard have erected in France. Go check it out on the Gkick Network.

First off I just want to say that the way Blizzard build this character and the story around her is amazing, parts of it is strangely familiar, which I’ll touch up on later,  but nonetheless it’s fantastic. Kerrigan is a former soldier who used to fight alongside Raynor and Arcturus. On a fateful day she was betrayed by Arcturus and left to die, however, the Zerg didn’t kill her. Instead the took her back to the Zerg home world and infested her, turning her into the “Queen of Blades” (the picture at the top of this post). When the former leader of the Zerg, “The Overmind”, perished she took command of the Zerg. Despite this, I find it hard to hate her. She’s that kick ass sort of villain that you have to love.

Now I had never played Starcraft before I purchased Starcraft 2 and didn’t know a thing about any of the characters, but in this game Blizzard do such a good job telling the story that pretty soon after you start playing, you know who she is and what her story is. I know Blizzard based her loosely on Medusa but for me the whole situation has me thinking of another good guy turned bad. Arthus in the Warcraft universe.

Let me explain. You have two characters here, one who got betrayed by her people, and one who felt betrayed by his people. They both became “infested” with evil, both wielding awesome powers and both with a huge army to command (Arthas with the Scourge and Kerrigan with the Zerg). In my opinion both have pretty sad stories (I harp on about this a fair bit but I seriously can not recommend Christie Golden’s “Arthas : Rise of the Lich King” enough. As I was saying, both of their stories make you feel sorry for them in a way. The other part that jumps out at me are the main people they are fighting. “Jilted lovers” shall we say. In the Warcraft universe there was Jaina’s love for Arthas, and in the Starcraft universe, even though it’s not explicitly said, Raynor’s love for Kerrigan. In this sort of way you can see how the two characters have pretty similar traits.

That doesn’t stop Kerrigan from being awesome though, and it’s no surprise that she has been voted “one of video’s games greatest baddies”. For someone who was initially meant to be a “throw away character”, I’m pleased that Metzen and co saw her potential. I’m also pretty glad that she’s going to be the main character in the first Starcraft expansion.

Final Thoughts

At the time of writing this I’m currently bashing my head against the quest “all in”, I’m not going to go into details here. I must say that Starcraft 2 is probably the most enjoyable game I’ve picked up recently and I really wish I had picked it up earlier. I know a lot of people are buried in the Diablo universe at the moment, but having played that, I genuinely think that Starcraft 2 is Blizzard’s finest piece of work since The Burning Crusade expansion for World of Warcraft and I can’t wait to play the expansion.

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